Luis Patiño strong in return, Rays beat Royals 7-1

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Luis Patino pitched strongly into the sixth inning, Yandy Diaz drove in three runs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1 on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay, which is tied with Toronto for the second AL wild card, has won five of six.

Patino (1-1), recalled from Triple-A Durham to make his first big league appearance since July 23, gave up four hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He went on the 60-day injured list following a left oblique strain in April.

“I felt really good,” Patino said through a translator. “I’ve been in the process of being able to recover from my injuries. Confidence has definitely gone up.”

Patino gave up three runs and seven hits in four innings at Kansas City on July 23. The right-hander is the Rays’ major league-leading 22nd pitcher to win a game this season.

“Kept us off balance,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s got good stuff. Breaking ball is sharp, good velocity. Couldn’t really predict where he was going to go and didn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

Diaz homered on the second pitch from Max Castillo (0-1) leading off the first, and had a two-run double during a during a five-run seventh off Brad Keller.

Michael Massey hit his first major league homer leading off the eighth against Shawn Armstrong to stop the Royals’ scoreless streak at 33 innings. Kansas City, blanked by Minnesota in its previous two games, avoided being shut out in three straight for the second time this season.

Castillo allowed one run and three hits, including two on bunts, in five innings. The right-hander was acquired from Toronto in the Whit Merrifield trade on Aug. 2 and recalled from Triple-A Omaha to make the start after Keller was shifted to the bullpen on Wednesday.

“Really impressive,” Matheny said. “Couldn’t have expected any more than what he did.”

Keller, who went 6-13 in 22 starts this year, entered with one out in the seventh and allowed six consecutive hits, including Diaz’s double that bounced over the head of third baseman Bobby Witt Jr. He allowed five runs, six hits and threw a run-scoring wild pitch in two-thirds of an inning.

Roman Quinn had the second hit in the seventh and took advantage of the shift to get a huge lead off first. He advanced to second on Jose Siri‘s infield single that shortstop Nicky Lopez fielded. Lopez looked at second before making a late throw to first.

“Roman Quinn’s baserunning set up that entire inning,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Just very, very heads up. We weren’t knocking the ball all over the place. Keller gave up I think six or seven groundballs that inning.”

Christian Bethancourt had a solo homer in the eighth that made it 7-1.

Kansas City designated hitter Vinnie Pasquantino went 0 for 3 with a walk and had his nine-game hitting streak that included five homers end. Salvador Perez walked twice, giving him 12 in 78 games this year.


The Rays arrived in the Tampa area around 5 a.m. after Wednesday night’s 8-7, 10-inning loss to the New York Yankees.

Outfielder David Peralta normally doesn’t sleep on the plane but did this time and said he was snoring so loudly he woke himself up.

Asked before the game if he thought the players were tired, Cash said, “No.”


Royals: RF Hunter Dozier was reinstated from the paternity list.

Rays: SS Wander Franco (right hamate bone surgery) sat out his second consecutive game with Triple-A Durham after departing his first rehab game Tuesday with hand soreness. Cash said Franco will take grounders Friday. … OF Manuel Margot (right patellar strain) is expected to be activated Saturday. … LHP Brendan McKay (thoracic outlet syndrome surgery) allowed two runs and two hits over four innings for Durham.


Royals: RHP Brady Singer (6-4), coming off a one-hit, six-inning outing Sunday in a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, starts Friday night against the Rays’ Shane McClanahan (11-5), the AL All-Star Game starter.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Matt Olson knew the Atlanta Braves were too talented to stay in a season-long slump.

That’s why no one panicked when the New York Mets’ division lead swelled to double digits in May. Now the Braves are on the cusp of another NL East title.

“It’s a clubhouse full of guys who want to win,” Olson said. “That’s all it’s been since the moment I walked in. That’s No. 1 on the program.”

Dansby Swanson and Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Braves beat New York 5-3 on Sunday night, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closes out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

“We’ve felt this confidence since the beginning of the year,” d’Arnaud said. “It just didn’t go our way early in the year, but pulling on the same rope, having each others’ backs, not trying to do too much. We’re just trying to play the game of baseball and have fun with it.”

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

“We still have three games left in the regular season, we’re still going to the postseason, that doesn’t change, but there’s a lot of learning points that we can take from this series moving forward,” Mets slugger Pete Alonso said. “I thought we played well, but the Braves played better. They played excellent baseball this entire weekend.”

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

“Everyone knew we were underperforming when we were flirting around that .500 range,” Olson said. “It was one of those things where it was trusting the talent we have and the guys in the clubhouse. Everybody was solid, head down, do your work, it’ll turn around and you wind up winning.”

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.


Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.


McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.


Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.


The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.


Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).